One just has to love flowers so opulent and lavishly endowed. Summer's peonies are glorious creatures in their time of blooming - they're all velvety curves and fragrance, lavishly dappled with dew at the beginning of day, and oh the colors...
The peonies we meet in our morning potterings come in hues from delicate cream to deep magenta, and I never tire of capturing them with the camera, having a particular fondness for Oriental peonies and an interest in their uses in the traditional medicines of China, Japan and Korea. The French word for peony is pivoine, and a fragrance from the French perfumier Yves Rocher of that name is redolent of blushing pink peonies, sunshine and high summer.
The dwindling blooms above are from an heirloom specimen that escaped from a local garden years ago and now lives in an overgrown hedgerow not far from home. Their blooming is over for this year, but when I stopped to look at them again a few days ago, it seemed to me that like roses, they are loveliest as they fade and wither in late June, their petals falling away and fluttering to the earth like confetti.
There's a poignant truth to such thoughts after the summer solstice, and I felt the same way last year at this time. Here we go again, entering the second half of the calendar year and starting down the golden slope to autumn and beyond. Strange to relate, my joy in the season and a gentle melancholy seem to be all wrapped up together in a single flower shaped bundle. Call it wabi sabi and treasure these feelings of transience, impermanence and imperfection - they're an elemental expression of wonder, rootedness and the suchness of all things.